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15.12.2005 Regional News

Unionist Wins Best Farmer Award

By the Servant
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The national chairman of the Ghana mine workers' union and vice chairman of the Trade Unions Congress (TUC) Mr Kojo Brempong has been adjudged the Obuasi municipal best farmer at this year's Ashanti regional best farmer's award held in the golden city last Friday.

Kojo Brempong who was the branch chairman of the Anglogold Ashanti Mine Workers Union in Obuasi before assuming the position of a national chairman, owns a farm near

Kwabenakwa in the Obuasi municipality.

He cultivates crops and rear animals for commercial purposes. Among the various produce put on display by the municipal best farmer were plantain, yam, goats, sheep, and pigs among others.

Presenting the prize, the municipal chief executive Joseph Kojo Boampong described the achievement of the unionist as historic saying it is rare to see miners engage in serious commercial farming whiles in active service.

For his prize Mr. Brempong was presented with several items including Wellington boots, bars of key soaps, a bicycle, a machete and a certificate.

Addressing friends and family members at a dinner held in his honour after the awards ceremony, the T.U.C vice chairman expressed his gratitude to the ministry of agriculture for recognizing his efforts.

He was hopeful that he will continue to do more to win even bigger awards in subsequent years.

In a related development Mr Kojo Brimpong, this year's Obuasi Municipal Best Farmer, has called on policy makers in education to make farming an important subject in the basic schools' curriculum. Speaking to our reporters after receiving his prize, comprising a table top gas cooker, spraying machine, bicycle, two bars of key soap, two cutlasses, Wellington boots and a certificate, the best farmer held that students in basic schools did not have interest in farming because they are made to work in the school farms as punishment. "The country's education reform should give premium to agriculture and help change this erroneous impression that weeding or working in the farm is a punishment", he stressed.

Mr Brimpong said it was an asset to the nation when people with high educational background entered into farming and other agricultural activities such as livestock.

Mr Brimpong, who is the National Chairman of the Ghana Mine Workers Union (GMWU) of the TUC, advised salaried workers to invest part of their monthly earnings, no matter how small it is, in agriculture to guarantee a better retirement life for them. "If you want an investment that will be beneficial in the long run, then invest in the land", he said.

He called on the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) to introduce special loan package for farmers.

"Farmers need capital to buy inputs to improve their operations", he added.

The Municipal Best Farmer appealed to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to offer the needed logistics to agriculture extension agents to enable them to perform as expected since "farming at this time needs technical approach due to lack of enough land". Twenty-four farmers and organizations, including the Tutuka Freeman Methodist Youth Fellowship were honoured for their contributions towards food production in the municipality.